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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. A D J Lovell


Anthony Desmond Joseph Lovell was born in Ceylon on 9th August 1919, the son of Stuart Lovell and Clare Mary Lovell.

He was educated at Ampleforth College. He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his initial training course on 25th October 1937. He moved on to 6 FTS Netheravon on 6th January 1938.

In late 1938 Lovell joined 41 Squadron at Catterick. He went on a parachute course at Manston in March 1939. He was attached to SHQ Catterick from 41 Squadron on 22nd July 1939 for Ops duties and did not rejoin 41 until 20th November 1939.



Above: F/O JN McKenzie, F/O ADJ Lovell, S/Ldr. DO Finlay, F/Lt. EN Ryder, Sgt. RC Ford


Lovell shared in the destruction of a He111 east of Dover on 31st May 1940 and on 1st June he shared another over Dunkirk. On 8th July he shared a Ju88 SE of Scarborough.

In combat off Dover on the 28th he was attacked by Major Molders of JG51 and crashed on landing at Manston. He was admitted to Margate Hospital, wounded in the thigh.

His next sortie was made on 4th August. On the 15th Lovell claimed a Me110 destroyed and probably another. He was shot down over the Thames Estuary on 5th September and baled out, unhurt. His Spitfire, R6885, crashed and burned out in Kimberley Road, South Benfleet.

On the 5th Lovell was appointed temporary ‘B’ Flight Commander, on the 6th he destroyed a Me109, on the 15th destroyed another and probably a second and on the 30th he damaged a Do17.

Lovell was confirmed in his appointment on 29th September and promoted to Acting Flight Lieutenant on 1st October. He damaged a Me109 on 1st October, destroyed another on the 20th, damaged another on the 30th, destroyed another on 17th November and destroyed one and shared another on the 27th.

Lovell was awarded the DFC (gazetted 26th November 1940).

He damaged a He111 on 22nd January 1941, destroyed a Ju88 on 30th March and damaged another He111 on 1st April.

Tour-expired, Lovell was posted to 58 OTU Grangemouth on 23rd May as an instructor. In mid-June 1941 he went to Catterick as Operations Room Controller.

In October Lovell was given command of 145 Squadron at Catterick. On 16th November he destroyed a Ju88 and on 19th January 1942 he shot down another.

He was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 10th February 1942).

In February the squadron was posted to the Middle East, arriving at Helwan in April.

Lovell was posted to HQ Middle East in May 1942, went on to 252 Wing as a Controller and then to the 13 Sector Operations Room. On 21st July 1942 he flew to Malta to join 603 Squadron. On the 23rd he damaged two Ju88s, on the 26th he damaged a Me109 and a Mc202 and on the 28th he shared a Ju88.

On 2nd August 1942 603 Squadron was temporarily disbanded and Lovell and other pilots joined 1435 Flight, which was then renamed 1435 Squadron, Lovell being given command of the new unit.

On 13th August 1942 he destroyed a Ju87 and a SM84, on the 14th he shared a Ju87, on 1st October damaged a Re2001, on the 11th damaged a Me109, on the 12th destroyed a Ju88, on the 17th damaged a Ju88 and on the 26th damaged a Me109.

Lovell was awarded the DSO (gazetted 3rd November 1942), the investiture was in Malta (below).



On 7th December he destroyed a Ju88 and on the 17th a SM79 on the ground. In early 1943 Lovell was rested and went to controller duties at 8 Sector Operations Room in Malta. He was promoted to Acting Wing Commander on 31st March 1943 to lead the Malta Spitfire Wing.

Lovell came off operations again and did staff jobs until December 1943, when he was made Wing Leader 322 Wing. He took the unit to Corsica in March 1944 to operate over northwest Italy and southern France.

On 3rd May 1944 he destroyed a Fw190 and damaged another, on 15th May destroyed a Me109 and on 15th June destroyed a Fiat G55.

Lovell was posted away on 14th August to No. 1 Mobile Operations Room. In November 1944 he was made Wing Leader, 244 Wing in Italy but in December he was posted to 71 OTU Ismailia as CFI.

He was awarded a Bar to the DSO (gazetted 23rd February 1945) and the DFC (US) (14th November 1944), the investiture below.



Lovell returned to the UK in June 1945 but was killed on 17th August when he crashed into a field adjoining Old Sarum aerodrome. He took off in Spitfire XII EN234 and after raising the undercarriage performed a slow roll to the right at 100 feet. Entering a second roll to the right the Spitfire lost height, went through some power wires and disintegrated after the right wing tip struck the ground.

He was 26 and is buried near his home in Portrush Cemetery, County Antrim.

His portrait was made by Cuthbert Orde (below).



January 2019 - another Orde image, dated five days later than the image above, has come to light (below), the circumstances are currently unknown.

Image below courtesy of Giles (Lovell-Webster-) Browne.





Lovell had a brother, F/Lt. SJ Lovell (below), who died on 29th January 1944 aged 27. He was killed whilst flying in Typhoon IB MM970 of 183 Squadron which was shot down by flak during a Rodeo to Guipavas airfield.



He is buried in Brest (Kerfautras) Cemetery.




An immensely detailed account of his life can be found at


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